Table 231

Structural Characteristics of a Bacterial Cell




protects the cell and helps the cell attach to other cells and


/ Cell wall

protects the cell and gives the cell its shape

/ Cell membrane

regulates the types of molecules that move into and out of the cell


contains DNA, ribosomes, and organic compounds that are needed for life


carries genetic information from one generation to the next


carries genes that are transferred through genetic recombination; is a small, circular DNA loop


contains DNA; is a thick-coated, resistant structure


helps the cell attach to surfaces and other cells during conjugation


propels the cell by rotating in a whiplike motion

^ Outer membrane protects the cell against some antibiotics (present only in Gram-

negative bacteria)

Word Roots and Origins pilus from the Latin pilus, meaning "hair"

Bacterial cells do not have membrane-bound organelles in their cytoplasm. Instead, the cytoplasm is a semifluid solution that contains ribosomes, DNA, small organic and inorganic molecules, and ions, as shown in Table 23-1.

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